It was 32 years ago on this date that Margaret and I went on our first date. (I figured I could remember that particular anniversary if I made it on Valentine's Day.) The storms of life have struck a time or two during those years, but I find great comfort in the words of Jesus: "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5) As I looked at the petals on the ground in the above photo, it made me think of how we have felt battered and torn from time to time. Through it all we kept clinging to the Vine.
Romantic dinners, boxes of candy, poetic greeting cards, beautiful flower arrangements, jewelry, and other gestures of love will be in the air today. I am going to bump up my game a little bit today too. Instead of McDonald's, I am going to treat my bride to Kentucky Fried Chicken. (It will have to do since we don't have any White Castles in the area.)
In all seriousness, the Sacrament of Matrimony is under duress in many different ways in modern culture. If you are blessed to be in a marital relationship, please take the necessary time to nurture that relationship. It may not always be easy, but it is worth it. For better or for worse, in sickness and in health--yes, that is quite a commitment. If we stay attached to the VINE, God's grace will always be sufficient for our needs.
May God bless each of you abundantly on this Valentine's Day!